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  Cat Health and Supplies
Mar 1 97 Bud: Diabetes and renal failure

Hi, I am so glad to have this site to come to for support and updated information concerning diabetic cats. Bud turns ten years-old this month. She was diagnosed with diabetes over two years ago. She started out very overweight so we put her on a prescription diet. She lost weight very quickly and became very thirsty. I feel so bad that I did not know what the signs for diabetes were. One night her blood sugar went out of control. I took her to our vet and she remained hospitalized for over a week. Talk about a hysterical mother! That was when she was diagnosed with having diabetes. Regulating her with Ultra-lente was not very hard.

Four months after diagnosis she began to stop eating and be very listless. This began many trips to the vet to get her back on track. Since this was becoming a weekly problem, my husband Byron and I decided to do what the vet suggested which was to send her to Louisiana State University Veterinary School. We live in Alexandria,LA which is about two hours from LSU in Baton Rouge. It was so hard to leave her there. After three days of extensive testing, we were told that she also has renal kidney disease. That explained why she kept becoming dehydrated. We then began to give her 100ml lactated ringer every other day. She also was put on a diet of Hills k/d.

So along with watching her diabetes we have to be alert to any kidney problems. We have no "human" children so our cats are it. When we go anywhere we pack more for them than our stuff combined.

We had a crisis two weeks ago. Bud stopped eating as much as usual and her urine test strip showed ketones in the 80 range. As instructed by my vet, I began giving her the fluids two times daily to help flush out the ketones. She still became worse so it was back to the vet. Through correspondance between my vet and LSU we increased her dosage of insulin. She was home a couple of days and on that third night she had a major seizure. We had never witnissed this before and hope we never do again. We gave her 1/4 to 1/3 teaspoon of Karo orally every 30 minutes as directed by the vet. At this point in time we are watching her closely to make sure that she does not become hyploglycemic again. We are also afraid that this means the kidney disease is getting worse- I could go on and on about how much we love her and what a terrific cat she is. She has so much courage with what she has to go through. I love spoiling her. Our other cat is rather healthy, her name is October. I know that my letter is long and I apoligize for it. I am so impressed by the information and the letters I have read. It helps to know that there is support out there.
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Mar 18 97 George: Brittle Diabetes and Tumors


I read about your cat Austin and his diabetes. My cat, George, was diagnosed with diabetes in January of 95. He was going on 11 at the time, and in spite of being a brittle diabetic, he really has done quite well.

The hardest thing for me was getting used to giving him the shots (he's on insulin 2x daily). He surely sensed my apprehension about it, and it really was becoming difficult. Since the vet advised me to give him his insulin at meal time, I finally found the perfect solution. With his head buried in his food bowl, I pinch some skin on the back of his neck and give him the shot. I swear he doesn't feel a thing as he usually never even turns around. I do reuse needles (the vet said it was ok) so occasionally he will look back at me when I give him his shot. When he does, I know it's time to use a new one for the next shot.

I've been quite fortunate that he has never had a hypoglycemic attack. As I read about yours and some of the others on the message board, I'm grateful to not have had to go through that. But all has not been a breeze with George either. He is brittle and it has been difficult to get him regulated. Taking him to the vet for an all day glucose check turns out to be a disaster, since once he's there he refuses to eat. But I think we've had some luck by just taking him real regularly to get checked--once a week, unless he's doing real well, then we can spread it out.

This is not an easy thing to deal with, but for the most part he seems pretty content. Unfortunately, he needed to have surgery for a tumor just below his eye. Since he is now almost 13 and because of the diabetes, the vet was hesitant, so we put it off until it couldn't be put off any longer. He came through well, and was able to come home the day after surgery. It's one week later now, and he is almost back to his pre-surgery insulin dose. It did have to be increased after the surgery.

So all seemed to be fine, until the lab report showed the tumor to be cancerous, a myxeosarcoma. The vet said it was very unlikely to metastatsize, which is great, and quite likely to return at the same site, which is a disappointment.

So, what do you do with these cats? If it's not one thing, it's another! But I am glad for having George. He's an orange tabby who looks kind of like Morris, only of course George is much cuter. He has a really sweet personality, and he's my good buddy.

The vet has said when the tumor returns he could remove it again, only this time he would also have to remove the eye. Since it may be a year or two before this happens, my feeling is by then at 14 or 15 I think it's a lot to put him through and I may instead opt to put him to sleep.

Unlike Austin, George does not do well with vet visits. If he doesn't poop in the car, he will when we walk in or as they take him back. He's a very unhappy camper there, even though everyone is so nice. So that's another reason I hesitate to put him through surgery again.

In the meantime, I am trying to keep his blood sugar under control as best I can. I enjoyed reading your experience with your cat. Hope Austin and Eugene are doing well.

Regards, Luana Thermos
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Mar 21 97 Tabitha: Recommends Anitra Frazier's book

Tabitha is a 14 year old Russian Blue kitty that has owned me since she was three months old. Five years ago I noticed that something was just not right with her so off we went to our vet's office to have her checked out.

This went on for about a year with the vet never finding anything wrong with her (he of course didn't check her blood glucose). I finally decided that the vet needed to do every test possible because I could tell there was something wrong.

The vet proceeded to do extensive blood work on Tabitha and let her go home with me after he had gotten all of the blood he would need. That afternoon I received a call from him saying that her blood glucose was elevated but he was sure it wasn't diabetes "cats get stressed and then their blood glucose is elevated" he stated to me. That same evening my husband and I went out to run some errands and when we returned home Tabitha was ketotic. We rushed her to the emergency vet clinic in our town where the vet there yelled at me, "couldn't you tell from the way she smells that this cat is a diabetic." I had never had any experience with diabetes so how was I to know that smelling like fingernail polish remover is a sure sign of this disease. She spent the night at the emergency vet's and the next morning we transferred her to our regular vet.

Our regular vet suggested that diabetes in cats is very difficult to stabilize and we could do ourselves and Tabitha a favor if we had her euthanized. I went ballistic! How could anyone suggest such a thing before we had even tried to stabilize her! I made the decision to give it my best shot (once again, no pun intended) and see how it goes. I have never, for even one second regretted this decision. Tabitha has a very good life and she is enjoying every (well, almost every) minute of it! My husband and I found a new vet that is wonderful with cats in general and also very knowledgeable about feline diabetes. He has worked with us to keep Tabitha happy and healthy. This disease does have its challenges but it is worth it in the long run.

Currently we are moving so Tabitha is under some stress and her B.G. has been a bit off (higher than normal, stress I suppose). I have made it a priority to keep an eye on her during this stressful period and she seems to be doing fine. It is so hard for me to not worry about her constantly! A few years ago I almost gave up when she was having a serious problem with hypoglycemia. After rushing her to our vet's office for the second or third time in a week I told the vet that I was worried that she was in pain. He told me that this disease is not painful to the cat and that even her bouts with hypoglycemia were not painful to her. He told me that I would know when her quality of life was not as good and until then I should not worry about it.

I talk to Tabitha about everything that is going on with her and I have explained to her about why she has to have insulin injections each day ( she is currently on 3 units Humulin U, twice per day). She seems to understand what is going on and accepts it gracefully. I give her the injections with her morning and evening meals so she never even pays any attention to what I am doing, she is too busy eating to care. I don't want to make it sound like dealing with this disease is a piece of cake. This disease is not always easy or convenient but I do believe a positive attitude helps the kitty as well as the kitty's parents. For anyone who is interested there is a very good book out there called "The New Natural Cat" by Anitra Frazier. I have found this book quite helpful and I follow some of the recommendations that are made about natural foods and vitamin and herb supplements. I like to mix some natural medicine with conventional medicine. I do think Tabitha is healthier because of some of the vitamins I give her. She has a beautiful coat and her eyes and kidneys are doing well.

This page is great! Best wishes to all of the little diabetics out there (and their caregivers)! Don't hesitate to email me if you want to talk about your little feline friends.

Thanks again for this wonderful page!

Amy Stone

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